Saturday, September 13, 2014

Gourmet Comfort Food

I'm such the foodie. I love to try new things...well, not necessarily just new foods but dishes made with a twist. Perhaps paired with something that you wouldn't ordinarily think to pair a particular food with. Namely speaking, last nights dinner. My husband and I went to the Cleveland Heath located in downtown Edwardsville, Illinois...Oh my...DELICIOUS! That's all I can say.

Beet Salad

Beet Salad - baby beets, grilled scallion, sesame yogurt, pistachio, candied lemon

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

From Wounded Knee to Birmingham Jail

From Wounded Knee to Birmingham Jail

            When the men, women, and children of the Sioux nation were butchered while performing the infamous Ghost Dance in 1890 along a creek called Wounded Knee in South Dakota, this ‘battle’ would mark the end of the Indian wars of the nineteenth century. These Sioux were oblivious to the fact that this site would once again, some eighty years later be chocked with the blood of their descendants. The Indians never wished for this violence and only resorted to it in the face of extenuating provocation. Author Mary Crow Dog who was present in 1973 for the second event known as the Siege at Wounded Knee recounts this event, her personal battles, as well as the collective struggle of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in her book Lakota Woman. Much like the riots of the Civil Rights movement, these events were the culmination of tensions in the struggle for equality. Likewise, an interesting and apropos contrast of Mary Crow Dog’s story and the angst representative in Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail  is possible due to the fact that they share numerous similar themes. Although these two events are different in some aspects, both reveal an ugly truth about white America.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

No Welcome Home: Post War Prodigals (Black Soldiers and the Vietnam War)

Recently I was reminded of the death of a colleague of mine (Harold "Light Bulb" Bryant) when  I encountered a harsh critique from an African-American soldier who had fought in Vietnam. His anger and resentment echoed in the stories I heard from Harold and from some of those recalled in the Wallace Terry book, Blood: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans (New York: Ballantine Books, 1984).   What people so often forget is what these battle-weary men faced upon their return home. What these courageous men who fought in Vietnam expected to hear when they returned home to the United States was applause, approval and smiling faces. Instead of a heroes welcome, they were met with protesters and antagonistic liberals; who spat on them and called them baby killers. Tenacious coverage of the war by the media only served to reinforce pictures of horror and dread, and probably led to this behavior. In any event, for the men willing to sacrifice their lives and forced by a war to watch their friends and fellow soldiers die, this treatment just seemed inconceivable. Even worse, for the young African-American soldier, the Civil-Rights struggle that he left back home had yet to yield its proverbial fruits. So returning home for them was even more bitter-sweet than for their Caucasian compatriots. Add to this the noncommittal attitude that the government demonstrated towards the war effort and one can begin to appreciate the magnitude of disenchantment that these men must have experienced.
Unlike the WW2 veterans who went before them and were offered opportunities at every corner, the stereotypical response that numerous Americans had of these Vietnam War veterans was an image of defeat, drug abuse, and shame. In truth, these men had been sent to a foreign land to fight a war that the American government never resolved itself to win. The ambiguous decisions of the policymakers and their failure to fully commit to the war left thousands of families in mourning, and many more thousands of vets wondering aimlessly. In particular, black soldiers left Vietnam wondering about the struggle for equality going on in a nation that seemed somehow to neglect and marginalize them. Black soldiers were unwanted when they left, and unwanted again when they returned home, despite their gallantry in a far-away land. Nonetheless, black or white, these men faced similar difficulties, and the resultant despondency that many of them shared due to the war was widespread.